About This Artwork

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson
French, 1767-1824

Bayard Refusing the Presents of His Hostess, in Brescia, c. 1789

Black and brown chalk, with stumping, and pen and brown ink, heightened with white goauche, on off-white laid paper
364 x 513 mm

H. Karl and Nancy von Maltitz Endowment, 1990.495

Considered a model of chivalric behavior, the Chevalier Bayard (1473–1524), a French commander active in the so-called Italian Wars (1494–1559), was wounded during the fall of the city of Brescia in 1512. Bayard is taken to the home of a local noblewoman to recuperate, and she offers him a fortune in ransom money for her family’s protection that he gallantly refuses.

In his drawing, Girodet mingles the emerging French vogue for the Middle Ages with the reigning taste for the antique. Bayard looks like an ancient Roman hero, while at the same time, the dress and trappings of the scene are medieval in a highly romanticized way.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, W. M. Brady and Company, "Old Master Drawings," October 25-November 14, 1990, cat. 24, as "The Generosity of Bayard."

New York, The Frick Collection, "From Pontormo to Seurat: Drawings Recently Acquired by The Art Institute of Chicago," April 23-July 7, 1991, n.p., cat. 34; traveled to The Art Institute of Chicago, September 10, 1991-January 5, 1992.

Paris, Musée du Louvre, "Anne-Louis Girodet De Roussy-Trioson (1767-1824)," September 19, 2005-January 2, 2006, p. 110, cat. 104 (ill.); traveled to The Art Institute of Chicago, February 11-April 30, 2006, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 22-August 27, 2006, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, October 12, 2006-January 21, 2007.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Gods and (Super)heroes: Drawing in an Age of Revolution", November 16, 2017 - April 1, 2018.

Publication History

P.A. Coupin, Oeuvres Posthumes de Girodet-Trioson, Peintre d’Histoire, I (Paris, 1829), p. 1, XXVI.

Friedrich Antal, "Reflections on Classicism and Romanticism, II," The Burlington Magazine (March 1936), p. 132.

George Levitine, Girodet-Trioson, An Iconographical Study (New York, 1978), pp. 24, 26, 27, and 29.

Aileen Ribeiro, The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750-1820 (New Haven, 1995), p. 171 (ill.).

Anne Lafont, "Girodet Trioson: Les Tableaux de l’Amitié," Revue de l’Art 123 (1999), p. 50, fig. 4.

Dossier de l'Art, Special issue dedicated to Girodet exhibition in Paris. Edition Faton.

Ownership History

The artist to Benoit-François Trioson (1735-1815) [inscription]. Possibly Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson [New York 1990]. Louis-Hector Becquerel de la Chevrotière (died 1842), by 1829 [Coupin 1829]. Probably Mme. Becquerel-Despréaux and her heirs [New York 1990]. Possibly Henri Baderou (1910-1991), Paris, c. 1960 [notes in curatorial notes]. Norman Schlenoff (died 1983), New York; by descent to his wife; sold by Mrs. Schlenoff though Neal Fiertag to Dr. Frederick Cummings [correspondence with W. M. Brady of June 7, 2004 in curatorial file]; sold to the Art Institute through W. M. Brady and Company, New York, 1990.

Interpretive Resources

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